Deuteronomy Chapter 9
Verses 9:1 – 10:11: This part of Moses’ speech rehearses the sins of the Israelites at Horeb (compare Exodus chapter 32).
Verses 1-6: Moses represents the strength of the enemies they were now to encounter. This was to drive them to God, and engage their hope in him. He assures them of victory, by the presence of God with them. He cautions them not to have the least thought of their own righteousness, as if that procured this favor at God’s hand. In Christ, we have both righteousness and strength; in Him we must glory, not in ourselves, nor in any sufficiency of our own. It is for the wickedness of these nations that God drives them out. All whom God rejects, are rejected for their own wickedness; but none whom he accepts are accepted for their own righteousness. Thus, boasting is for ever done away (see Eph. 2:9; 11-12).
The conquest will be accomplished because of Yahweh’s will, not because of Israel’s righteousness. “The wickedness of these nations” served as the basis for Israel’s victories (Gen. 15:16). “Stiffnecked people”: Literally the word is “hard of neck”; the figure may be taken from a stubborn ox that refuses to submit to the yoke.
Deuteronomy 9:1 “Hear, O Israel: Thou [art] to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,”
A pause being made after the delivery of the preceding discourse. Or perhaps what follows might be delivered at another time, at some little distance. And which being of moment and importance to the glory of God. And that Israel might have a true notion of their duty, they are called upon to listen with attention to what was now about to be said.
“Thou art to pass over Jordan this day”: Not precisely that very day, but in a short time after this. For it was on the first day of the eleventh month that Moses began the repetition of the laws he was now going on with (Deut. 1:3). And it was not until the tenth day of the first month of the next year that the people passed over Jordan (Joshua 4:19). Which was about two months after this.
“To go in and possess nations greater and mightier than thyself”: The seven nations named (Deut. 7:1), where the same characters are given of them.
“Cities great and fenced up to heaven”: As they were said to be by the spies (Deut. 1:28). And were no doubt both large and strongly fortified, and not to be easily taken by the Israelites, had not the Lord been with them (Deut. 9:3).
Moses continues to bring before them the fact that they are led of God. They must listen carefully and obey. “This Day” means in the very near future. The people in the lands they are about to possess are not weak in the physical sense. In fact, they are very strong physically. God is removing them, because of the magnitude of the sins in their lives. They are idolatrous, which God will not permit. They do have strong world fortifications, but none of this can stop God.
Deuteronomy 9:2 “A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and [of whom] thou hast heard [say], Who can stand before the children of Anak!”
“The Anakims”: Moses remembered the people’s shock when they hear the original report of the 12 spies concerning the size, strength, and number of the inhabitants of Canaan (Num. 13:26 – 14:6). Therefore, he emphasized that from a purely military and human point of view, their victory was impossible. The fear of the spies and the people focused on the Anakim, a tall, strong people who lived in the land of Canaan (see note on 1:28).
They were much larger people than the Israelites. Just as this was no problem with Og, it will be no problem here. Instead of saying, “who can stand before the sons of Anak”, they should say, “who can stand before God”. There is no power on earth strong enough to withstand God.
Deuteronomy 9:3 “Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God [is] he which goeth over before thee; [as] a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.”
“Consuming fire”: The Lord was pictured as a fire which burned everything in its path. So the Lord would go over into Canaan and exterminate Canaanites. “destroy them quickly”. Israel was to be the human agent of the Lord’s destruction of the Canaanites. The military strength of the Canaanites would be destroyed quickly (see Joshua 6:1-11:23), though the complete subjugation of the Land would take time (see 7:22, Joshua 13:1).
The Israelites must not hesitate to go into the land, but they must not depend on their own strength to defeat these people. God will go before them. He is their strength.
Psalms 140:7 “O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”
The Scripture that helps me, when I feel I cannot go on is the following.
Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation.”
Verses 4-6: God’s choice of Israel had nothing to do with her “righteousness” or her size (Rom. 11:6); she was the least (7:7), and she was made up of a “stiff-necked” people. The two stated reasons that the Lord brought the Israelites into the land were the “wickedness of these nations” and the Lord’s “oath” to your fathers.
Deuteronomy 9:4 “Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.”
“For my righteousness”: Three times in verse 4-6, Moses emphasized that the victory was not because of Israel’s goodness, but was entirely the work of God. It was the wickedness of the Canaanites that led to their expulsion from the land (compare Rom. 10:6).
It is not the righteousness of Israel that causes God to do this for them, but the wickedness of their enemies. God loves Israel, and wants them to return that love in obedience to Him. They are not perfect, just loved.
Deuteronomy 9:5 “Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Neither for their external righteousness before men, or their outward conformity to the law. Nor for the inward sincerity of their hearts, and their upright intentions in doing good, in which they were defective.
“Dost thou go to possess their land”: This is repeated, and enlarged on, and explained, that this notion might be entirely removed from them, and not entertained by them. Similar to which is that of men, who fancy that their sincere obedience, though imperfect, will be accepted of God. Instead of a perfect one, on account of which they shall be justified and saved. But by the deeds of the law no flesh living can be justified in the sight of God. Nor by any works of righteousness done by the best of men, and in the best manner they are capable of, will any be saved.
“But for the wickedness of those nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee”: Which is repeated, that it might be taken notice of as the true reason of the Lord’s dealing with them in such severity. And which because it would be now doing, when the Israelites passed over Jordan, and went in to possess the land. It is expressed in the present tense, “doth drive”, the work being not yet finished. Sin was the cause of their ejection out of their land, and another thing was the reason of the Israelites possessing it, and not their righteousness next expressed.
“And that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”: It was to fulfil his covenant, and make good his word of promise to their fathers, and not on account of any righteousness of theirs. And the salvation of the Lord’s people in a spiritual sense, and their enjoyment of the heavenly Canaan, are owing to the gracious purposes and promises of God. And to his covenant engagements, as well as to the undertakings, obedience, and righteousness of his Son, and not to any righteousness of theirs.
Abraham was counted righteous, because of his great faith. The blessings that were coming upon Israel were because of the promises God had made to Abraham, and in turn to Isaac, and Jacob. The lack of faith is the very thing that caused the Israelite fathers not to enter the Promised Land, but wander 40 years. Now this generation has a chance to enter, if they have enough faith.
Deuteronomy 9:6 “Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people.”
“A stiffnecked people”: Literally “hard of neck”. An expression for the stubborn, intractable, obdurate, and unbending attitude of Israel. (In verses 7-29), Moses illustrated Israel’s rebellious attitude and actions toward the Lord.
“Stiffnecked” means obstinate, rebellious, stubborn. Moses would have them understand their righteousness is not what got them the land. They receive the land on faith, because of their ancestor Abraham. God is keeping His promise to Abraham.
Verses 7-29: There are many parallels between this narrative and the one (in Exodus 24:12-18; chapter 32 and 34). The intercession of Moses (verses 18-20; 25-29), is set against the rebellion of Israel (verses 7-17; 21-24). In this way, the love and mercy of Yahweh for Israel are emphasized. They had “been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you”. Before they crossed the Red Sea they were in unbelief, and all the way to Sinai they murmured and tested God. Then He knew them, that is, He made a covenant with them. Even then they were involved in idolatry, as when Moses came down the mountain with the tablets of stone.
That the Israelites might have no pretense to think that God brought them to Canaan for their righteousness, Moses shows what a miracle of mercy it was, that they had not been destroyed in the wilderness. It is good for us often to remember against ourselves, with sorrow and shame, our former sins; that we may see how much we are indebted to free grace, and may humbly own that we never merited anything but wrath and the curse at God’s hand. For so strong is our propensity to pride, that it will creep in under one pretense or another. We are ready to fancy that our righteousness has got for us the special favor of the Lord, though in reality our wickedness is more plain than our weakness. But when the secret history of every man’s life shall be brought forth at the day of judgment, all the world will be proved guilty before God. At present, One pleads for us before the mercy-seat, who not only fasted, but died upon the cross for our sins. Through whom we may approach, though self-condemned sinners, and beseech for undeserved mercy and for eternal life, as the gift of God in Him. Let us refer all the victory, all the glory, and all the praise, to Him who alone bringeth salvation.
Deuteronomy 9:7 “Remember, [and] forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.”
“Remember”: Moses challenged Israel to call to mind the long history of their stubbornness and provocation of God which had extended from the time of the Exodus from Egypt for 40 years until the present moment on the Plains of Moab.
They had been a people who were never satisfied. They had murmured against God, Moses, and Aaron. They had made the golden calf. They had sinned with false gods. They were a people who did not want to be ruled of God. Over and over, the LORD had been angered by their sins.
Deuteronomy 9:8 “Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.”
The word “also” shows that they had provoked him before, but this instance is given as a very notorious one. Here they made the golden calf and worshipped it, while Moses was on the mount with God, receiving instructions from him for their good. Near to this place a rock had been smitten for them, from whence flowed water for the refreshment of them and their cattle. Here the Lord appeared in the glory of his majesty to them, and from hence, for it is the same mount with Sinai, the law was given to them in such an awful and terrible manner. And yet none of these things were sufficient to restrain them from provoking the Lord to wrath by their sins.
“So that the Lord was angry with you, to have destroyed you”: So very angry with them, and so justly, that he proposed to Moses to destroy them, and make of him a great nation in their stead (Exodus 32:10).
I suppose their very worst sin had been when they made the golden calf and worshipped it, while Moses was gone up the mountain to receive the two tables of stone with the Ten Commandments graven in them. They were without excuse, because God had spoken the Ten Commandments from the fire on the mountain, and they had all heard. They also, had agreed to keep the commandments of God. The LORD would have destroyed them all, had not Moses begged for their lives.
Deuteronomy 9:9 “When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, [even] the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:”
The tables of the law, the same law which forbid idolatry, and which they had lately heard from the mouth of God himself. Even;
“The tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you”: Which they had agreed unto, and solemnly promised they would observe and do (Exodus 24:7).
“Then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights”: And this long stay was one reason of their falling into idolatry, not knowing what was become of him (Exodus 24:18).
“I neither did eat bread nor drink water”: All those forty days and nights (Exodus 34:28).
Moses had fasted for forty days and nights, while on the mountain top with God. He had been in the near presence of God. His head shone so brightly when he came down the mountain, that he had to wear a veil to keep from blinding the people.
Deuteronomy 9:10 “And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them [was written] according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.”
“The finger of God”: God Himself had written the Ten Commandments on the two tablets of stone at Mt. Sinai (see Exodus 31:18).
The main thing we must see in this, is that the fiery finger of God wrote the commandments on the stones. This was the first set of stones God prepared for Moses to bring and present to the people. These were the same commandments God had spoken to them at the mount.
Deuteronomy 9:11 “And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, [that] the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, [even] the tables of the covenant.”
The time of Moses’s stay in the mount, when it was just up, and not before. That;
“The Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant as in (Deut. 9:9). Aben Ezra observes, that this shows that the day the tables were given to Moses the calf was made.
Moses stayed on the mountain, until the LORD told him to go. We see total obedience on the part of Moses. The tables of stone with the Ten Commandments are given to Moses.
Deuteronomy 9:12 “And the LORD said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted [themselves]; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.”
The omniscient God, who knew what was doing in the camp of Israel, though Moses did not, of which he informs him.
“Arise, get thee down quickly from hence”: From the mount where he was. And the word “arise” does not suppose him to be sitting or lying along. Neither of which postures would have been suitable, considering in whose presence he was. But is only expressive of urgency and haste of his departure; it is not used in (Exodus 32:7).
“For thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt, have corrupted themselves”: Their way, as the Targum of Jonathan; that is, by idolatry, that which nothing is more corrupting and defiling. The Lord calls them not his people, but the people of Moses, being highly displeased with them. And ascribes their coming out of Egypt to Moses the instrument, and not to himself, as if he repented of bringing them from thence.
“They are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them”: It being but about six weeks ago, that the command forbidding idolatry was given. The sin they had fallen into, had been given them.
“And they have made them a molten image”: The image of a calf made of melted gold.
We see they had quickly forgotten the Ten Commandments; God had spoken to them. Not only had God forbidden them to make a golden image, but He had forbidden worship of it too. It had been just a short time since they had heard the voice of God, and yet they have turned to idols.
Deuteronomy 9:13 “Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it [is] a stiffnecked people:”
After he had given him the two tables, and before his departure from the mount.
“I have seen this people”: Took notice of them, their ways, and their works.
“And, behold, it is a stiffnecked people”: Unwilling to submit to, and bear the yoke of my commandments (see Exodus 32:9).
They are a people who want to do what pleases themselves. They do not want to obey anyone. They have rebelled against God.
Deuteronomy 9:14 “Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.”
“Blot out their name from under heaven”: God threatened to destroy the people of Israel so completely that He pictured it as an obliteration of all memory of them from the world of men. This threat was taken by Moses as an invitation to intercede for the children of Israel (Num. 14:11-19).
The LORD, at this point in time, wants to destroy them all and start all over with Moses. He is already grieved that He chose them to be His people. Moses actually pleads with God for their lives. God does not destroy them, because of Moses’ request.
Deuteronomy 9:15 “So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant [were] in my two hands.”
As the Lord commanded.
“And the mount burned with fire”: As it had for six weeks past, ever since the Lord’s descent upon it. And so it continued, for the words may be rendered, “and the mount was burning”. And yet this did not deter the Israelites from idolatry.
“And the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands”: One table in one hand, and the other in the other hand.
God remained on the mount. He was present in the fire on the mount. Moses came down the mountain alone with the two tables containing the Ten Commandments.
Deuteronomy 9:16 “And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, [and] had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you.”
When he was come down from the mount, and was nigh the camp.
“And, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God”: That plainly appeared by what they had done, and at which he was amazed. And therefore, a behold is prefixed to it, it being such a gross sin, having so much impiety, ingratitude and stupidity in it.
“And had made you a molten calf”; that he saw with his eyes, and them dancing about it (see Exodus 32:19).
“Ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you” (see Deut. 9:7).
Actually, they had convinced Aaron to make the golden calf. They had so quickly turned aside to this golden calf to worship. They wanted something they could see with their physical eyes. God is a Spirit. The true God is Creator of all the world. He cannot be seen with physical eyes.
Deuteronomy 9:17 “And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.”
In wrath and indignation at the sin they were guilty of.
“And brake them before your eyes”: As an emblem of their breach of them by transgressing them.
When Moses threw the stones to the ground and broke them, it showed that their agreement with God had been broken by them. They had turned from the One True God to the worship of an image.
Deuteronomy 9:18 “And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.”
In prayer for Israel who had sinned. But this he did not immediately after he had broken the tables. But when he had first ground the calf to powder, strewed it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink it. And when he had chided Aaron, and ordered the sons of Levi to slay every man his brother.
“As at the first forty days and forty nights”: Which is to be connected, I think, not with what goes before. For we read not that he fell down before the Lord, at the first time he was with him so long in the mount; but with what follows. “I did neither eat bread nor drink water”; as he neither ate nor drank the first forty days, so neither did he these second forty (see Deut. 9:9).
“Because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger”: For they were guilty of more sins than one. Besides idolatry, they were guilty of unbelief, ingratitude, etc., which were notorious and flagrant. And were done openly and publicly, in sight of his glory and majesty on the mount. All which must be very provoking to him, and on account of these Moses prayed and fasted.
Moses went back up on the mountain where the presence of God was. He stayed on the mountain another 40 days and 40 nights, without eating or drinking water. They had provoked God to anger, and Moses interceded for them.
Deuteronomy 9:19 “For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.”
Which was exceeding vehement, as appeared by his words to Moses. Forbidding to intercede for them, that he might consume them, and make of him a greater nation. Wherefore he dreaded the issue of it, lest it should be:
“To destroy you”: That this should be his full resolution and determination. However, he made use of means, and betook himself to fasting and prayer. So heartily affected was he to this people when his temptations lay another way.
“But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also”: As he had at other times, when this people had sinned. And he entreated for them; in which he was a type of Christ, the Mediator and Advocate, whom the Father always hears.
The LORD spared them, because of Moses’ prayers for them.
Deuteronomy 9:20 “And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.”
“I prayed for Aaron”: Moses interceded on behalf of Aaron, on whom the immediate responsibility for the Israelites’ sin of the golden calf rested. Aaron had thus incurred the wrath of God, and his life was in danger (see Exodus 32:1-6). This is the only verse in the Pentateuch which specifically states that Moses prayed for Aaron.
The mention of God being extremely angry with Aaron is not mentioned in Exodus, but we can surely see why God would have been angry with him. Perhaps this is mentioned here, to show that even the highest official in the church can also anger God. Just because a person is a pastor of a church, does not exempt him from the penalty for sin.
Deuteronomy 9:21 “And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, [and] ground [it] very small, [even] until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.”
Which was the object of their sin, which lay in making and worshipping it (see Isa. 31:7).
“And burnt it with fire, and stamped it”: With his feet after it was burnt, to bring it into small pieces.
“And ground it very small”: Or, as the Targum of Jonathan, “ground it in a mortar well;” the burnt and broken pieces.
“Even until it was as small as dust”: Being ground to powder, as in (Exodus 32:20).
“And I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount. And made the children of Israel to drink of it, as in the previously mentioned place (see note on Exodus 32:2). All this was done before the prayer for Aaron and the people.
The following Scripture tells a little more clearly why Moses strewed the gold dust from the calf in the brook.
Exodus 32:20 “And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt [it] in the fire, and ground [it] to powder, and strawed [it] upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink [of it].”
In a sense, they drank of their own sin.
Verses 22-24: Moses catalogs the places where the Israelites had been disobedient to the Lord, from the golden calf at Horeb (Exodus 32:1-10), to the disastrous decisions at Kadesh-barnea (Num. chapters 13-14). He summarizes with these sad words: “You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you (Psalm 106:24-25). Centuries later, the Lord passed over these early examples of rebellion in the words of a forgiving lover: “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals” (Jer. 2:2).
Deuteronomy 9:22 “And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.”
“Taberah … Massah … Kibroth-hattaavah”: These 3 places were all associated with Israel’s rebellion against the Lord. Taberah, “burning”, was where the people had complained of their misfortunes (Num. 11:1-3). At Massah, “testing”, they had found fault with everything and in presumption had put God to the test (Exodus 17:1-7). At Kibroth-hattaavah, “graves of craving”, the people had again incurred God’s anger by complaining about their food (Num. 11:31-35).
At Taberah, they murmured against God. At Massah they complained of lack of water, until God miraculously provided good water for them to drink. At Kibroth-hattaavah they complained of the manna which fed them. They were complaining about something all the time. God would punish them, they would repent and then a short time later, it would begin again.
Deuteronomy 9:23 “Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.”
“Kadesh-barnea”: There they sinned by both lack of faith in God and disobedience (compare Num. chapters 13 and 14).
This is speaking of the twelve spies who went for forty days into the Promised Land, to see if they could take it. God did not tell them to question whether they could take it, or not. He told them to take it. Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a good report. The others convinced the people not to go in. They were punished by wandering in the wilderness, until the doubters died.
Deuteronomy 9:24 “Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.”
“Ye have been rebellious against the LORD”: Moses concluded that his dealing with Israel as God’s mediator had been one of continual rebellion on Israel’s part, which led to his intercession (verses 25-29).
Moses had trouble with them, even before they left Egypt. They had complained the entire 40 years. Moses is trying to make them realize, they have not been acting in faith toward God.
Deuteronomy 9:25 “Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down [at the first]; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.”
Which Jarchi says are the selfsame said above (Deut. 9:18). But doubled or repeated, because of the order of his prayer. The words “at the first” are not in the text; and, as before observed, we do not read that Moses fell down at the first forty days he was in the mount (Exodus 32:11).
“Because the Lord had said he would destroy you”: Threatened them with destruction, and seemed as if it was his intention to destroy them. Nay, even after Moses’s first prayer, though he bid him go and lead the people on, yet he declared that he would visit their sin upon them (Exodus 32:34).
These 40 days was in addition to the first 40 days. This time Moses has to prepare the stones himself for God to write on. He is pleading with God for their lives.
Deuteronomy 9:26 “I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.”
What follows is a different prayer from that in (Exodus 32:31). And agrees better with that in (Deut. 9:11), delivered before he came down from the mount. Yet could not be the same, because delivered at another forty days and nights.
“And said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people, and thine inheritance”: Because they were his inheritance, a people whom he had chosen for his peculiar treasure. This is the first argument used, another follows.
“Which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness”: Redeemed out of the house of bondage, the land of Egypt, by his great power, as next explained.
“Which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand”: Inflicting plagues on the Egyptians, particularly destroying their firstborn, which made them the Israelites urge to depart.
Moses reminds God that He chose these people. These are the people of the inheritance. God miraculously freed them from Egypt, Himself. He destroyed Pharaoh’s army for them. He must not give up on them now.
Deuteronomy 9:27 “Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:”
The covenant he had made with them, the promises he had made to them of the multiplication of their seed, and of giving the land of Canaan to them. Which is a third argument used with the Lord not to destroy them.
“Look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin”: Nor to the natural temper and disposition of the people, which was to be stubborn, obstinate, stiffnecked, and self-willed. Nor to their wickedness, which appears in various instances. Nor to that particular sin of idolatry they had now been guilty of. Tacitly owning that if God looked to these things, there was sufficient reason to destroy them.
Moses reminds God of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is saying, “Do this because you promised them, not because of these stubborn people. They were a wicked, sinful, stubborn people. God had delivered them from the clutches of Egypt. Now, He is having difficulty getting Egypt out of them. They had lived in a heathen nation. They had picked up many of the ways of the world. God does not destroy them for Abraham’s sake.
Deuteronomy 9:28 “Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.”
“The land whence thou broughtest us”: Moses’ prayer of intercession to the Lord on behalf of Israel appealed to the Lord to forgive His people because the Egyptians could have interpreted God’s destruction of Israel as His inability to fulfill His promise and His hate for His people.
All of the people in the lands around them knew that God was with this people. They knew of the ten plagues that freed them from Egypt. They knew that God had parted the Red Sea for them to cross. They knew God destroyed Pharaoh’s army for these people. They were aware that God was leading them with a fire by night, and a smoke by day. If He destroys then now, it will appear God is lacking in power. Moses has made a good point.
Deuteronomy 9:29 “Yet they [are] thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.”
Though they had sinned against him.
“And thine inheritance”: Which he would not forsake and cast off. At least Moses hoped on this account he would not, and makes use thereof as an argument with him why he should not. And which he repeats, adding in effect what he had said before.
“Which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and stretched out arm”: Even out of the land of Egypt. The doing of which was plainly the effect of his almighty power. And an evidence of it, considering the weakness of Israel and the strength of Egypt. And the manner in which the Lord brought about this surprising event.
The best statement of all is perhaps, the fact that they are God’s people. He has chosen them. As bad as they are, they are His. They do not deserve to be saved. God saved them in spite of that fact. It sounds familiar doesn’t it. We do not deserve to be saved either. God saves us because He loves us, not because we deserve it.
Deuteronomy Chapter 9 Questions
1. What does “this day”, in verse 1, mean?
2. What kind of people will Israel face?
3. Why is God moving these people out for Israel?
4. Their cities were said to be fenced up to _________.
5. These people were tall like the ____________.
6. Instead of saying “Who can stand before the sons of Anak” they should say what?
7. How will God destroy their enemies?
8. It is not the righteousness of Israel, but the _____________ of their enemies that causes God to drive them out.
9. Who had God given His Word to about this land?
10. Abraham was counted righteous, because of his ________ ________.
11. What had caused the Israelite fathers not to go into the Promised Land?
12. What does “stiffnecked” mean?
13. God is keeping His promise to ___________.
14. What terrible thing had they done at Horeb?
15. Why were they without excuse?
16. The LORD would have destroyed them all, had not ________ begged for their lives.
17. How long did Moses fast on the mountain?
18. How were the tables of stone written?
19. Why did God tell Moses to get down quickly to the people?
20. What did God want to do, when He saw the golden calf?
21. What did Moses find, when he came down the mount?
22. What reaction did Moses have?
23. Where did Moses go then?
24. The LORD spared the people, because of Moses’ ___________ for them.
25. How did God feel toward Aaron?
26. Why did He not kill Aaron?
27. What had happened at Taberah?
28. What had happened at Massah?
29. What had happened at Kibroth-hattaavah?
30. What had they done wrong at Kadesh-barnea?
31. Who were the only two spies, who came back with a good report?
32. When had Moses started having trouble with the people of Israel?
33. What was different about the ten commandments on the tables of stone, the second time Moses got them?
34. Who did Moses tell God to remember?
35. What would the nations around think, if God killed the Israelites?
36. Who do these people really belong to?
37. How are we, Christians, like the Israelites?